Live Updates: Joe Biden Addresses Taliban's Afghanistan Takeover, Efforts to Evacuate Americans

Live Updates

President Joe Biden cut short his Camp David presidential retreat to address the U.S. on the Taliban's takeover in Afghanistan.

The speech, which took place in the East Room of the White House, was his first public remarks since the Taliban seized control of the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday and the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport became a scene of chaos as people looking to flee the country swarmed the runways Monday.

In the remarks, Biden said that he stands "squarely behind my decision" to withdraw U.S. military from the country, and he was unwilling to pass the torch of the 20-year war onto another president.

"I know my decision will be criticized, but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president," he said.

Biden said that in light of the speed at which the Taliban gained ground and the resources the U.S. funneled into preparing the Afghan military for these events, "there is no chance that one more year, five more years or 20 more years of U.S. military boots on the ground would've made any difference."

"We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them the will to fight for that future," he added.

However, Biden promised that the U.S. presence "will be swift, and the response will be swift and forceful" in Afghanistan if the Taliban attacks U.S. personnel

"The buck stops with me," he concluded his remarks.

Biden did not take any questions from media present at the event.

The live updates for this event have ended.

Biden Gives Afghanistan Remarks
U.S. President Joe Biden cut his vacation in Camp David short to address the nation as the Taliban have seized control in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. is set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war. Biden gestures as he gives remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House August 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Biden Says No Length of Continued U.S. Involvement 'Would've Made Any Difference' in Afghanistan

After seeing the speed at which the Taliban quickly gained ground in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said that "there is no chance that one more year, five more years or 20 more years of U.S. military boots on the ground would've made any difference."

"We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong, incredibly well equipped. A force larger in size than the militaries of many of our nato allies. We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force, something the Taliban doesn't have," he said.

"We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them the will to fight for that future," he added.

U.S. Mission in Afghanistan 'Was Never Supposed to be Nation-Building,' Biden Says

President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. goal in going to Afghanistan "was never supposed to be nation-building."

Instead, it was an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks on the U.S. after Sept. 11, 2001 and prevent Al-Qaeda from using the U.S. as a "base" for those attacks, he said.

"Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what has always been, preventing a terrorist attack on American homeland," Biden said.

Biden Faced 'Cold Reality' of Withdrawing Troops or Reinvigorating Fight Against Taliban

President Joe Biden said during his public remarks Wednesday that when it came to his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, he was left with a "cold reality" of either following through on an agreement from former President Donald Trump to get troops out by May 1, 2021 or reinvigorate the fight against the Taliban.

This was during the spring fighting season and a time when the Taliban was at its strongest since 2001, Biden said.

"It would've been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1," Biden said.

"There was only a cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan. Lurching into the third decade of conflict. I stand squarely behind my decision," he added.

Biden Pledges Not to Pass Afghanistan War to Fifth President

While defending his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden pledged that he wouldn't allow the 20-year Afghanistan war the fall into the hands of the next president.

"I know my decision will be criticized, but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president," he said.

"It's the right one, it's the right decision for our people, the right one for our brave service members who risked their lives serving our nation and it's the right one for America," he said in conclusion to his public remarks.

U.S. Response 'Will Be Swift and Forceful' if Taliban Attacks U.S. Personnel, Disrupt Operation

President Joe Biden promised that if the Taliban attacks U.S. personnel in Afghanistan or disrupts the U.S. operation, the U.S. presence "will be swift, and the response will be swift and forceful."

"We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary," he said.

Biden said that the U.S. military's current mission is focused in its objectives to get American people and personnel out of the country, in addition to Afghan allies, and "end America's longest war after 20 years of bloodshed."

"The events we're seeing are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan, as known in history as the graveyard of empires," he said.

Biden Authorized 6,000 U.S. Troops to Assist Departure of U.S. Personnel, Allies from Afghanistan

President Joe Biden announced during public remarks Monday that he had authorized 6,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to Afghanistan to assist the departure of U.S. personnel and allies from the country.

Troops are working to secure the Kabul airfield that became a scene of chaos, Biden said. Additionally, he affirmed that the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan was successfully shut down and the U.S. intended to transport thousands of American citizens currently in the country.

He also promised that the U.S. would continue to assist the Afghan people, but through diplomacy and support rather than occupation.

"I've been clear, human rights must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery," he said.

'I Stand Squarely Behind My Decision,' Biden Says During Remarks on Afghanistan

Despite facing criticism for the in-progress U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden said during public remarks Monday that he's sure of the move.

"I stand squarely behind my decision," he said.

While the events in the past week "did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated," he remained firm in his stance that "there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces."

"Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghanistan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight," Biden said.

"American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves," he added.